Refunds For Overpayments?

According to the audit report by Mr. Sercer, most individuals on the payment plan overpaid their interest by $800. Now that the County is aware of this error, it would seem that they would be required to send refund checks to the individuals who paid too much in interest.

It doesn’t appear that this has happened. The information about who overpaid is not in the report. It would be part of the details of the audit. These details have not been made available because they have not be requested from Mr. Sercer. The Commissioners, who ordered the audit, are hesitant to request the audit details because they feel that the Attorney General’s office may conduct an investigation and the release of the audit details would compromise the investigation.

On the other hand, the county has something of an obligation to quickly give people their money back if they were charged interest they did not owe. Even if this isn’t a legal statute it is surely an ethical requirement. In some situations, it might just be a matter of taking the overpaid interest and applying it to any outstanding tax bill for current years, but in others it may be a matter of issuing someone an $800 check.

Without the audit details, it is impossible to know who needs a refund, but there are some complicated scenarios that may to arise.

First, if someone has overpaid in the past, how is that money applied to other delinquent taxes? It would seem that their interest would need to be recalculated to keep from penalizing them for money they had been incorrectly charged.

Second, if someone is owed money due to an incorrect calculation by the county, they may be entitled to receive interest on that money. Federal taxes have a provision where the IRS can owe tax payers interest in certain situations and their may be a similar state laws.

The third scenario that may complicate things for the county involves a tax payer who has overpaid on the payment plan, but currently has property in the process of being prepared for sale for other unpaid taxes. If they have money owed them by the county and the property is sold, what happens to the extra money? If the amount was more than what they owed (unlikely), then the county would be in the position of foreclosing on someone who had paid all their taxes.  If it is for less, then the county would be in the postion of foreclosing on someone without telling them how much they actually owed.

Now it is impossible to say if anyone is in any of these situations or not. At this point, Mr. Sercer and his firm are the only ones who have the information, but it seems like it would be in the best interest of the county to make  the details public before that tax sale. Otherwise there is a chance that it will put the county into a very tricky position.



5 thoughts on “Refunds For Overpayments?”

  1. My guess is that no sale of delinquent properties will take place until the investigation is finished. I think most of the “situation” is in a sort of lock down. If the AG/KBI doesn’t want the audit report distributed outside the office of the auditor, I would think they would have made that very clear especially if it might some how interfere with their investigation. Maybe they are afraid that their will be rioting in the streets when the complete report is released or maybe since it is tax season, they don’t want a lot of extra turmoil going on in addition to collecting taxes. I think we have pretty much maxed out “unfair” and maybe “unethical” (depending on what the full audit report reveals) so I am not sure any measure of time will have that much effect one way or another. It’s such a disaster!

    1. Mark: The way I took that $800.00 was that it was a combination of all the other taxpayers that he looked at with the exception of, I think the largest and the county treasurer? I am only guessing because I went back and read it a couple of times and was just confused.

      1. From the report:

        As stated in the next two paragraphs, the Treasurer originally underpaid interest but ultimately overpaid interest by over $300. All the other taxpayers overpaid their interest by approximately $800

        Consider the following statement:

        That boy has three pennies. All the other boys have approximately eight pennies.

        It isn’t completely clear, but I think you might be right. Thanks for pointing that out.

  2. One year I tried to pay over the amount of my property taxes in another KS county, hoping they would just hold the extra for the following year. Unfortunately, they do not and apparently will not as they sent me a check with the extra amount (btw, I was not behind in taxes).

    But, my question is: How can you have an overpayment when a person owes more years in delinquent taxes? Common sense would say that so called overpayment would be applied to the next [delinquent] year owed.

    Since the software is being blamed for the [majority of] mistakes, the County Commissioners should have the County Attorney check into filing a suit against that company in lieu of again dumping this mess on the taxpayers.

    1. The way I am understanding it, the overpayment in interest was detected only by Mr. Sercer when he did the audit. Underpayments, overpayments, no payments, payments with interest forgiven, really just overlooked until the audit brought them out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *